NCAA March Madness Preview — Midwest Region

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The Madness of the first two rounds of the NCAA tournament is complete, and the remaining teams have turned their attention to the Sweet 16. In the Midwest Region, there are four remaining teams in Kansas, Providence, Miami, and Iowa State. Kansas is the top-seeded team in the Midwest and has the third-highest odds to win the NCAA tournament on most sportsbooks. It will be a battle to see who comes out of this region in the bracket, so let’s look at the matchups for the upcoming round.

Kansas (1) vs. Providence (4)

Standing in as the third number one seed remaining, Kansas has a showdown with the Providence Friars for their chance to advance to the Elite 8. The Jayhawks coasted by Texas Southern (No. 16) in the first round before defeating Creighton (No. 9) 79-72 in the round of 32. Their 30-6 record on the season is largely due to the 78.7 points per game they average this season and 17th ranked field goal percentage. Kansas is led by Ochai Agbaji, who averages 19.3 points and 5.2 rebounds and led the Big 12 in scoring this season.

Providence has a bit of a “team of destiny” feel to them. While Providence is the 4th seed in the region, betting against them has been a popular pick in both of the first two rounds. The 2022 KenPom rankings have Providence as the highest Luck Margin of any of the 68 teams in the NCAA tournament by a pretty wide margin. Despite this, Providence possesses an admirable scrappiness and competes to stay in games. 

The Friars are led by senior big man Nate Watson, who averages 13.5 points and 5.3 rebounds. Aljami Durham is the X-factor for the team who has an athletic 6’4 build and averages 13.3 points per game. While he only shot 35.5% from the field during the season, he has had a solid tournament performance so far and likely will be tasked as the primary defender on Ochai Agbaji.

Kansas is favored by 7.5 points in the matchup, and the over-under is set at 141.5. The Providence money line is +275, which trails only Saint Peters and Arkansas as the highest payout. 

NCAA Betting Lines

Per Draft Kings, the Kansas Jayhawks are the favorites to win tonight’s matchup.

  • Spread: Kansas -7.5
  • Kansas Moneyline: -320
  • Providence Moneyline: +250
  • O/U: 141.5
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Iowa State (11) vs. Miami (10)

It is a bit of a surprise that either of these teams is here, as both teams have been the underdog in the first two rounds. Miami has overcome seventh-seeded USC and second-seeded Auburn in one of the tournament’s biggest upsets so far. In comparison, Iowa State snuck past sixth-seeded LSU and third-seeded Wisconsin in 5-point victories in each game.

Miami is considered the favorite in this matchup which is not surprising as the massive Auburn upset is still fresh in everyone’s mind. The Hurricanes are a very solid team that rebounds well and possess an offense that has scored less than 70 points in a game only once since February. The U is the 22nd most efficient team in the country this year as they shoot 47.7% as a whole.

Iowa State is also not a team to mess with, as their lockdown defense has been what has driven them to success. They rotate efficiently and trap heavily, which creates chaos for opposing teams. In the first two NCAA tournament games, the Cyclones have held opponents to 6 of 41 on three-point attempts and forced Wisconsin to turn the ball over 18 times despite the Badgers leading the nation in lack of turnovers before the season. Vegas favors Miami by 2.5 points in the matchup, with Iowa State listed as a +116 underdog. The over-under is set at 133 in the matchup, and the game will tip-off Friday at 10:00 PM EST.

NCAA Betting Lines

Per Draft Kings, the Miami Hurricanes are the favorites to win tonight’s matchup.

  • Spread: Miami -2.5
  • Miami Moneyline: -145
  • Iowa State Moneyline: +125
  • O/U: 133.5
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Overall NCAA Midwest Region Outlook

When looking at the odds to come out of the region, it is no surprise that Kansas leads the pack. The Jayhawks are -180 favorites to win the NCAA’s Midwest region, which is the largest favorite in any of the regions. When looking past them, Miami has +500 odds, and Providence and Iowa State are +600 odds to come out of the region alive.

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